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Praise is Good but Criticism is Important Setting the right balance

Praise is Good but Criticism is Important Setting the right balance
Mayur Kalbag
November 11
11:00 2017

In my career, working in the capacity of a marketing and sales professional, I have seen and worked along with different kinds of bosses and from my varied interactions with them there has been a lot to learn.

Through this column I wish to focus upon a particular quality that I learned and that which made me a better manager or a boss to my subordinates.

Well friends, I am basically going to focus upon the role of ‘praise’ and ‘criticism’ and their balance as well as their collective significance in the growth of a professional or an employee and I would like to do that with the help of an example of a real life professional scenario.


A professional scenario

Mahendra was an engineer and was working with a large bottle manufacturing company in Labasa.

It had been just over six months since he had joined the company as a Graduate Trainee.

He had joined along with another two engineers, Yogen and Rohitesh.

They had graduated from the same Engineering College in Suva. A year had passed and all the three engineers were made permanent along with a healthy hike in their respective salaries.

They were assigned to different departments related to Manufacturing and Quality and under separate bosses.

Another seven months had passed by and it was at one of the Diwali Dinner events organised by that company where all the three engineers along with all the other employees met for the celebration.

As the three engineers sat together for dinner one of them by the name of Roitesh began to open up about his experiences so far.

“Hey guys, I must tell I am really lucky to have this boss! Since the time I have joined his team he has never said one thing that has been critical or negative about me or my work.

Even in our weekly meeting my boss praises me as well as my other colleagues.

He makes us feel and believe that we are the best and that is so inspiring.” “But what about when you make mistakes?” the other colleague, Yogen asked. Rohitesh replied excitedly.

“Well isn’t that awesome. There have been certain situations where I know that I have made a few errors in my project but my boss has never ever criticized me for it.

In fact, one of my colleagues in my department is really very undisciplined and keeps coming late to office and even though we all know about it my boss never questions him.

I am lucky that I have this kind of a boss who is so positive and always praises us.

What about you, Yogen? How are things in your department?” Rohitesh  asked. Yogen had a sort of a gloomy face and with a dejected expression he responded. “Guys, I think I am the most unlucky person here.

My superior is totally the opposite. The only thing he knows is to criticize. Worse is the fact that he never looks at the positive actions and acomplishments we have done but focusses his entire attention only on the mistakes and errors.

To make things worse, he criticizes me in front of everyone without realising how demotivating and demoralizing it can get.

I am sorry guys, but his attitude is very negative and if it continues like this I will look out for another job elsewhere!” “Hey Yogen, please calm down bro! You have to take it easy.

We have just joined this company and you have already started thinking about leaving because of your boss?” Rohitesh told Yogen and then addressed Mahendra, “Bro! what is your story? Hope you are not planning to leave the company like our friend? He mischievously asked to which Mahendra.

Upon being asked this question Mahendra reached out to his office bag and pulled out what looked like a piece of paper.

He placed it on the table and then addressed both Rohitesh and Yogen. “Hey Guys, it is interesting that we are having a conversation about our bosses at this dinner function organized by our esteemed organization.


About my boss

I too would like to share a few things. I must say that I am much more fortunate to have a boss like mine and there is a reason for it.

My boss is appropriately balanced in the way he assesses me! If there is something wrong or if I have committed an error in my work he is the first one to criticize me in the most harsh manner.

Having said this I also must say that he never ever has criticized me just to insult or humiliate me in front of the others.

If the mistake or failure has been a real bad one and if he is very angry, he will shout at me but only in private, inside his cabin” As Mahendra was about to continue Yogen interrupted and said, “Hey Mahendra, your boss is as bad as mine, always criticizing and being negative.

I wish we had a boss like the one Rohitesh has” Hearing this Mahendra smiled and continued. “Yogen, you are totally wrong here.

My boss also has another side to him. I must proudly say that whenever me or any of my team members does the right thing or successfully achieves even the smallest of the tasks my boss is the first to write an email praising and complimenting him or her for achieving or accomplishing that task.

Many times I have seen him patting us on our back and appreciating us in our weekly meetings.

In fact even if the task was not completed he will criticize but also appreciate the efforts put in by that person.

What I see in my boss is the right balance between praising and criticizing.

I believe my boss’s criticism has actually made me improve myself. If he had only showered praise upon me and not offered his constructive criticism I would have not learnt from my mistakes.

On the other hand if my boss had only criticized me without recognizing my achievement I would been in the same state as our friend Yogen!” Saying this Mahendra showed them the piece of paper that he had earlier pulled out from his bag and explained about it to them. “Hey guys, this is what my boss calls the praise and criticism balance sheet.

What it has on one side is the list of criticisms for things I have not been able to achieve and on the other side is the list of all my accomplishments and his positive comments about the same.

Each of us in the team gets the P&C Balance sheet every month. This sheet also helps us to start improving upon the things we have not achieved” Saying this Mahendra excused himself for a glass of water.

By the time the three had completed their intense conversation their dinner had turned cold.

However, more importantly there was something very important that Rohitesh and Yogen had learned from their interactions, something they firmly decided to practice when they would become bosses to their subordinates!


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